1st Edition

Africa in the Bengali Imagination From Calcutta to Kampala, 1928-1973

By Mahruba T. Mowtushi Copyright 2025
    224 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge India

    This book examines textual representations of Africa in the Bengali nationalist and diasporic thought from 1928 to 1973. It is the first full-length study of the development of ‘Africa’ as an idea and historical reality through the writings of five Bengali writers including, the Bengali novelist Bibhutibhusan Bandapadhyay (1894-1950), the children’s author Hemendrakumar Roy (1888-1963), the poet and philosopher Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), the playwright Ganesh Bagchi (1923-2016) and the surrealist poet and founding editor of Transition magazine Rajat Neogy (1938-1995). The volume shows how these writers engage with the idea of Africa and how that helped in the construction of Bengali cultural identity during the freedom struggle, the Partition of Bengal in 1947 and the creation of Bangladesh in 1971. First of its kind, this book will be an excellent read for the students and scholars of literature, comparative literature, history, cultural studies, post-colonial studies, South Asian studies, African studies and also to the Bengali Diaspora across the globe.

    List of figures and tables. Acknowledgements. A note on Names and Spellings. Chapter I: Introduction Chapter II: The Replenishment of Bengal: Bibhutibhusan Bandyopadhyay’s African Adventure Novel, Chander Pahar (1933) Chapter III: Space, Place and the Body: The Nationalist Bhadrolok in Hemendrakumar Roy’s African Story, Abar Jakher Dhan (1933) Chapter IV: ‘A Call to Duty’: Rabindranath Tagore on Africa Chapter V: Ganesh Bagchi and the Narratives of Longing and Belonging in Uganda, 1948-1964 Chapter VI: Nations and nationalities in Transition: The Poems of Rajat Neogy for Transition Magazine, 1962-1973 Conclusion. Bibliography. Index


    Mahruba T. Mowtushi The author writes for the Journal of Commonwealth Literature (JCL), Research in African Literature (RAL) and the journal of South Asian Review (SAR) among others. In recent years, she has published works on Bengali cinema, street art in Dhaka, South Asian Muslim food culture and African writers of Bengali descent. The author works in both English and Bengali and her research and writing interests cut across South Asian and African literature and cultural history. The author is currently working on a two-volume project on wireless broadcasting in eastern Bengal and Bangladesh and the rise of modern nation-states.